The Swedish Embassy

I have so much to tell you but I don’t know where to start. Swedish Beauty had an event yesterday at the Swedish Embassy and it was such a success! Much more intimate than in Dubai and everyone attending the event were so nice. Nobody wanted to leave so the event lasted longer than expected, which meant I got a chance to talk to everyone. I met some amazing women. One of them was the first building engineer in Saudi, another was from the royal family, some ran their own businesses (often in the fashion industry) and many worked with events and social media.

I am really impressed with the country and I my picture of it has changed a great deal. Five years ago no woman in this country was allowed to work. Should you buy underwear, make-up or get your nails done, there were only men in the shops/salons. That was how it started, the women grew tired and started to make a change. In Sweden we see Saudi as a backward country, but being here as a Swede gives you a new perspective of things. I see a country that has developed tremedously in a short amount of time. Saudi has the highest number of female PhD’s in the world. Also, I have never before seen that such big companies integrate social media to this extent. I leave impressed and I would love to come back!

The whole Swedish team at the Embassy
With Jan Knutsson, the ambassador in Riyadh

… This morning we had a big meeting at Whites Pharmacy. It is the most exclusive pharmacy group in Saudi:

It was a very successful meeting. I bought a lot of local brands to take home with me. Exciting. Now we are going to the airport! We will fly to Dubai first, stay there for a few hours and then board our overnight flight to Sweden. Thank you, Business Sweden and Faisal for a great trip, both for LCC as the timing is perfect for a Swedish company to establish here, but this trip has also meant a lot to me personally. I have memories that will last me a lifetime and seeing the world makes me more open and hopefully also a better role model to my kids.

 

Mini Rodini SS18

– I partnership with Babyshop –

I have got the great honor to present parts of Mini Rodini’s pre-spring collection for SS18. One advantage of working with these amazing partners is that you get to see some collections before they are released. I ordered my favorites for Gillis and Sally and it is quite cool that the kids are wearing something that no one else is wearing right now. I am sure these clothes will appear a little here and there this spring. Gee, how I wish I could be a part of Mini Rodini. There was actually a window to invest in them a couple years ago but I missed it. Anyways, this is a pre-spring collection for 2018 and it will launch now at 10am – here you can see more.

It is certainly not the season for spring- and summer clothes at the moment but I think these clothes are great Christmas gift ideas and these dresses are perfect for Christmas!

It is nothing new that I recommend Babyshop here on my blog, but I really like the brand. Babyshop has Europe’s biggest ecological selection of kids- and baby products, and Mini Rodini is one of my favorite brand of theirs. Partly because of their childish and fun patterns and their lovely attitude, but also because they are in the forefront when it comes to using ecological and sustainable materials and methods when they produce their clothes. See the new collection here

– In partnership with Babyshop –

 

Glowork!

What an amazing day. We had a meeting with a company called Glowork, the founder Khalid AIKhudair is highly acclaimed internationally because of his efforts for women. He told us that he started Glowork because his sisters had a hard time finding work and today they have arranged jobs for 33.000 women in Saudi Arabia. When we entered the office, we encountered a big sign that said “there is no gender in success”. We talked about what we can find in common to strengthen the women over here.

One of those things is that Glowork and the government in Saudi has started a Venture capital fond (seed capital) that helps women start companies here, and there we can be role models and tell them about what we have done. Also, releasing an Arabic version of Economista that goes back to basics but also the basics of business economics. Then Gloworks are hosting a conference and fair every year with over 45.000 visitors and I have been given the opportunity to lecture there next year. That is great! Khalid is also a member of Sephora’s board and L’Oreal so we can accomplish a great deal together.

There were a lot of photos taken during the meeting and their content producer filmed for their Snapchat and Instagram. A few weeks ago Stefan Löfven was here for a meeting.

After the meeting we met with a big pharmacy chain as well, a lot of info to process. Afterwards we spent some time at the Kingdom Mall where I bought myself a new bag and a pair of earrings…

So far my impression on Riyadh is very good, everyone is so kind and it is not as strict as I imagined. I thought I would not be able to walk on the streets by myself, shake hands with men or have eye contact with them. But nothing of the above has been a problem. I feel safe walking here. People are helpful and positive when you need directions. Now we have an hour of work at the hotel ahead of us and then we are going to the Swedish Embassy to host an event. Great!

 

Riyadh

Good morning to you!

I got to bed late last night. Business Sweden had booked a hotel next door to the Ritz Carlton, which has now been evacuated because of a group of powerful ministers and business men are in house arrest. From the information I have received it is a anti-corruption effort. Anyway, the government decided that they needed our neighboring hotel, Marriot, so we simply had to switch. It was never unpleasant and everything was calm. Instead we got Riyadh Palace.

By the way, this is how I look in my abaya, thank you for commenting on the last blog post that I should wear regular clothes underneath. The abaya was apparently as thin as a wrap dress. I like it and it does not feel as strange to wear it as I thought it would. Like a thin wollen robe. I did not need to wear a scarf with it.

This was the view from my window. It is so cool to be here and experience everything. I am in the middle of Saudi Arabia! A day full of meeting now awaits, and tonight we have an event at the Swedish Embassy.

 

Riyadh next

Day 2 has gone better than day 1. We had some good meetings and it feels like it will get easier from here. The fact that they prefer to be with us is also positive. I am keeping my fingers crossed. My gut feeling tells me that we will succeed. After today’s meetings we had 45 minutes before our taxi would pick us op for the airport, so Pingis and I changed into our bathing suits and lay down by the pool. There were some kids the same age as Gillis and Sally who bathed. Instead of feeling anxiety I felt love for having two wonderful kids.

Dress Gant, shoes Flattered

Bathing suit and shawl Toteme.

Soon we will be flying to Riyadh. We travel with a diplomat who has been with us during our stay. Everything is easier that way. I have packed an abaya, which is a dress, and under it I will wear a tank top and pantyhose. I will not wear the shawl over my head but around my neck. For my part I am okay with putting on a long dress and wearing the shawl over my shoulders. If you are doing business in a country you must respect their culture, and I make a bigger difference coming here properly dressed and inviting them to an event at the Swedish Embassy, than refusing to go because of the clothes requirements.

According to my information from Business Sweden, there is a lot going on in these countries. In Dubai women are getting seats on boards due to affirmative actions, and in Saudi they now have a leader which is considered to be innovative (in their standards). The women are working again since a few years back. It is crazy, I know. But I choose to see that they are moving forward. If somewhat slowly. Tomorrow 30 local women are coming to our event at the Embassy and it will be so much fun to tell them about the journey of our company!

 

Event in Dubai

Yesterday Business Sweden hosted an event here in Dubai at The Address Hotel for us, the Swedish brands. There were retailers, press, influencers and readers of my blog present. We had a panel discussion on stage and then a mingle. It is a luxury to be able to meet with the retailers during a mingle instead of during a 90 minute conference meeting. Pingis and I split up and mingled away for two hours. It was so nice to meet followers of my different social medias. Usually they find my Instagram first and then they go on to find the English version of the blog.

Today we will have a quiet morning as the meeting that was scheduled has been moved to after lunch. There is a lot of “inshallah” here, which simplified means “if God wills it”. In practice that leads to a great deal of rescheduling and it is in general quite difficult to to set a time here. A lot of last minute decisions. But we adapt, all cultures have their ways of doing business and I embrace that. Another example is business with Americans, thanks to their positivity it is easy to feel like “yes, we got the deal”, but really they are just being that kind of nice that is characteristic for Americans. You live and you learn!

As my morning is free, I plan to be at Dubai Mall when they open at 10am. I think I will look into some local beauty products and maybe treat myself to something. At lunch I have an interview with a magazine at the hotel, in the afternoon I will be meeting with retailers and at 8pm tonight I fly to Saudi.

With Swedish Anette, she is a diplomat and is based at the embassy in Abu Dhabi. Anette opened the night and welcomed everybody.

 

Trailer: A Quest For Success

Today was a big day for me in many ways. Partly because of everything that is going on here in Dubai, the Arabic version of the blog was launched this morning. Another cool thing is that an interview was published on BBC today. To be featured in international media is one of my goals, which I now feel I’m getting closer and closer to achieving. My inbox has been overflowing with exciting emails since the article came out. Need to pinch my arm to realize it’s for real! Amazing! You can find it here if you want to read it.

But another great thing is that you will finally get to see the trailer for my new online series A Quest For Success. Lots of success stories are broadcasted all over the world every day, but we generally don’t get to see what’s going on beneath the surface. As an entrepreneur you have to make sacrifices along the way to achieve your goals and get to where you want to be, which could be incredibly tough decisions and the consequences are not always easy to deal with either. I have invited guests from different walks of life that both inspire me, but also dare to do things that I don’t have the courage to do. For this first season, I am only having Swedish guests, but the second season will be with international guests. My dream is that this program, which by the way, is produced by a young, ambitious crew hand-picked for this task and sponsored by American Express, will be something I can carry on doing for a quite while. If you all like it, I hope to be able to do a new show every week for the rest of my life. I get a chance to meet so many cool people and I want to share all of that with you.

Here’s the trailer (euuuugghghh, I am so nervous!), the first episode will be broadcasted next week :- ) 

 

Meeting-energy

Gee, what a day. Meeting after meeting. The biggest challenge is to maintain the energy when you’re sitting in a conference room without windows. Pingis and I usually stand up when we’re talking about our company in order to increase the energy of the ones listening to us. One thing I’ve learned from sales is that the mood of the recipient is vital. If the person I’m trying to make a good impression on is thinking of something else, he or she might miss my points. If he or she having a bad day can thus be crucial to me. Naturally that is frustrating to know, but therefore it is very important to take the temperature of your audience. It has happened that I’ve taken a bathroom break even though I haven’t had the need to go, just to get a chance to start over again and give the listener a new chance to focus. It works.

In Sweden I choose time and place for a meeting strategically to be able to optimize it. For example, mornings are usually good but not Monday mornings (because everybody is stressed out). Friday afternoon is also a poor choice. Even 11am can be a bad time as it is very close to lunch. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10am and 1.30pm are the best. Then it is important to make the meetings dynamic, things must happen if you want to sell something and make a good impression. I have some tricks, I can ask a colleague to come in etc. I can tell you more about that later because I just realized what time it is, time for an event!

When I got back to the hotel at 4pm I removed my make-up (I had an allergic reaction to all the eye make-up that the make-up artist put on this morning). The lenses plopped out and now everything is red and runny. That means I won’t be wearing any lenses tonight (too bad I didn’t bring my glasses!) I’ve had quite a rough day personally, I have been struggling in silence. For a while I was happy that I had false lashes on because that motivated me not to cry during a break. Uh. At least I had a nice walk around the hotel area. Now I’m going to put some make-up on by myself and have a big event over here!

 

Day 1

Good morning to you! I’m off to a meeting so I’ll just give you a quick update. Pingis and I had our make-up and hair done in our rooms by a really talented make-up artist here in Dubai, and then we met up with our crew. We are here with Idun and Feisal who is our contact person at the Swedish Embassy in Riyadh. Feisal also helps us with all the meetings with retailers here in Dubai.

Caroline and Göran. Göran owns, and have founded, Idun. We help each other abroad as our brands go well together and have the same client.

Blouse Lou in Love (adlink), pants 2ndday (adlink) and heels Deuxieme Studios

The hotel is so beautiful! Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have an opportunity to explore it a little bit closer before dinner tonight.

Wish us luck!

 

The One & Only in Dubai

We’re here! It’s almost 1am here and we arrived at the hotel a short while ago. Just had a cup of tea, checked my emails and had a shower. I want to settle down with a little bit more reading before I turn in for the night. My alarm is set for 6am, so I need to get some sleep before then.Really exciting day ahead of us tomorrow with meetings and events. Can’t wait!

One & Only in Dubai

My books for this trip. I’ve almost finished “Husmoderns död” (loosely translated as “The death of a housewife”), which is an amazing collection of texts. I seem to have entered a period devoted to short stories and poetry. But I alternate with some pep-talking and inspiration from Mr Branson too.